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Titans spar on handset pricing

The battle of the titans continued last week as the industry’s No. 1 and No. 2 carriers rolled out dueling promotional efforts centered on popular handsets.
AT&T Inc.’s Cingular division, the No. 1 operator, cut the price of the LG Electronics Co. Ltd. CU400, a W-CDMA phone, to free with a two-year contract, while Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 contender, is hoping to entice customers with discounts on three Motorola Inc. phones.
The promotions are just the latest example of the near-continuous price tweaking all of the major carriers engage in, efforts aimed at winning customers with a precise mix of price and phone.
Cingular is pushing the CU400 flip phone that features Bluetooth, push to talk and support for the carrier’s newly launched W-CDMA network. Cingular previously sold the phone for $50 online with a two-year agreement.
Cingular also trimmed the price of the more advanced CU500 model from $50 to $30; the Nokia Corp. E62 smartphone from $100 to $30; and the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. D347 from $100 to $10.
Interestingly Cingular raised the price of its GSM-based Motorola Krzr from $100 to $150, while at the same time Verizon Wireless cut the price of its CDMA-based Krzr from $100 to $50.
Verizon Wireless also trimmed prices on the Razr from $50 to $40 and shaved $70 off the price of the Q from $150 to $80.
For regional operators, U.S. Cellular Corp. aligned the pricing of its Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerry’s at $150.

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